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Security Expert Slams Google+ Pseudonym Policy

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the anonymous-cowards-unite dept.

Security 373

An anonymous reader writes "A security expert has panned Google's "real name" policy on Google+, claiming that the hard line will damage privacy. Sophos's Chester Wisniewski says that closing accounts where users have adopted false names erodes privacy on the social network. 'What they seemed to have missed is that the very foundation of privacy is identity. Simply knowing my postal code or birth date is meaningless without a name to associate it with. By requiring people to only use their real names, unless they just happen to be a celebrity, they have eliminated the ability for people to be private in any meaningful way.'"

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I feel like I should... (3, Funny)

kenboldt (1071456) | about 3 years ago | (#36893700)

buy stock in a tin foil company with all the hats that are being made lately.

Re:I feel like I should... (1)

eNygma-x (1137037) | about 3 years ago | (#36893842)

How about this instead... if we are doing no wrong what is the harm of using false names? Why not exhibit some trust? Let a person's action dictate if their account gets killed off.

Re:I feel like I should... (2)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36893984)

How about this instead... if we are doing no wrong what is the harm of using false names? Why not exhibit some trust? Let a person's action dictate if their account gets killed off.

If anonymous, they can have an infinite number of accounts to spam and troll from. The harm is the destruction of the ecosystem and community all for some pill spam and some 12 year olds making fart jokes. And thats before the professional astroturfers move in and really ruin the neighborhood.

Re:I feel like I should... (2)

kenboldt (1071456) | about 3 years ago | (#36894042)

How about this instead... if you don't like the free service being provided, don't use it.

It isn't clear to me where use of Google+ was being forced upon people. Perhaps if someone could provide a citation.

Re:I feel like I should... (0)

mijelh (1111411) | about 3 years ago | (#36894148)

You could apply the same to yourself: if you don't like our freely provided opinions about the said free service, don't comment on them. But that would be ludicrous as knowing the opinions of people in general, and people who disagree with you in particular, is a great way of improving.

Re:I feel like I should... (2)

kenboldt (1071456) | about 3 years ago | (#36894346)

There is a difference between having a discussion, and choosing to not use a product or service because you don't like how it works.

I've used this example elsewhere, but if you wanted to buy a coffee maker, and you specifically wanted to be able to brew full pots of coffee to serve many people, would you choose to buy a single cup maker, then proceed to complain that you can't use it to brew full pots of coffee? No, of course not. So Google has created a product, and one of the features it lacks is the ability to use a pseudonym, and yet people are trying to use that product but complaining that they can't use a pseudonym.

I am saying that if you don't like a product, the appropriate behaviour is to not use it, but you are saying if someone has an opinion which differs from your own the appropriate behaviour is to remain completely silent. I do not think those two things are the same.

Re:I feel like I should... (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | about 3 years ago | (#36894572)

I find your analogy faulty, at best. Opinions posted here are meant for comment. Interaction, and the free exchange of opinions is the main reason most of us are here and the basis for /.

The poster wasn't questioning your right to comment, but was saying that if someone has a problem with the free service being provided, then they have other free alternatives that they can pursue. I tend to agree, and wonder about the concept of pseudonyms for a "social" network - but I would say that if you want to use them, there are networks out there that will let you do so, so you are not locked in to using Google. If you want to use their services, which they are providing for free, then you have to abide by their rules. You can express your displeasure, but that's about it.

Re:I feel like I should... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 years ago | (#36894154)

Have you been under the rock. We deserve to have everything exactly the way we want it. If we don't like it we complain, but never ever, consider not using it. Oh woe is me my Smart phone has all the features of a High end computer 8 years ago. But it doesn't do X or Y or That device has this carrier problem... And the alternatives have other problems, so I am stuck with that brand. You don't need a smart phone, you don't need to access social media, All you need to do eat, drink, keep your body at around 98.6 degrees, get rid of the waste, make sure it doesn't rip open, or get infections. The rest you can live without if you choose.

Re:I feel like I should... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894288)

keep your body at around 98.6 degrees.

Try standing up straight.

Re:I feel like I should... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36894334)

Oh woe is me my Smart phone has all the features of a High end computer 8 years ago

Sorry for being way off topic, but one thing sorely horribly missing is CAD. Not a viewer but real CAD.

I'm not asking to spend an eight hour shift doing drawings on a tiny little touch screen; that would be pure hell.

But it would be a miracle if I could pull up a print and spend 90 seconds making a trivial edit, instead of trying to involve a cad draftsman back in the office over email or sms.

Re:I feel like I should... (1)

acohen1 (1454445) | about 3 years ago | (#36894408)

I've honestly never tried this, but would a remote desktop application like VNC or LogMeIn work well enough for that kind of task?

Re:I feel like I should... (1)

JoeTalbott (2146840) | about 3 years ago | (#36894180)

I think the problem is when the definition of 'wrong' suddenly changes.

Re:I feel like I should... (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | about 3 years ago | (#36893922)

I just think that in the modern social network world surely everyone has access to the kind of things that were reserved for celebrities - stalkers, identity theft, fans, followers, past coming back to haunt you decades later etc.
Why shouldn't everyone have celebrity status?
And at what point does someone become a celebrity? How many friends/followers do you need to have? Or is the rule when Google's CEO has heard of you then that's the rule - kind of like "I'll know pornography when i see it"?

anyone remember friendster? (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#36893708)

friendster was poised to be the facebook of its age. it was wildly popular and growing explosively. i forget the year (2004? 2003?)

then friendster started taking a hard line: no goofy fake name accounts, such accounts were deleted

so people left in droves for a perky startup called myspace

i remember this issue clearly covered in the press, but i can't seem to find any references to such stories to show you what doomed friendster and allowed myspace to take over, apologies

but anyway: learn from history google, or be doomed to repeat it

Re:anyone remember friendster? (2, Insightful)

dBLiSS (513375) | about 3 years ago | (#36893860)

Yes, that's exactly why Facebook never worked...

Re:anyone remember friendster? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36893992)

Yes, that's exactly why Facebook never worked...

And linkedin.

Re:anyone remember friendster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894132)

LinkedIn is for business contacts. It's not your everyday social media.

As far as Facebook, a real name is not required. My wife uses an alias on Facebook and has for years.

Re:anyone remember friendster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893898)

I stopped using friendster, because the servers were overloaded. Sometimes it took over 10 seconds to load a page, if it worked at all.

Re:anyone remember friendster? (3, Insightful)

martyros (588782) | about 3 years ago | (#36893954)

And FB requires you to use your real name as well. Somehow it has failed to keep it from growing pretty big. The thing with nonymity (as opposed to anonymity): the normal social conventions keeping people from acting like total asshats actually work. If there are actual consequences for what you say, people are more likely to act responsibly. Now, there are obviously bad sides of nonymity; those same social conventions can have nasty side effects, and the consequences of saying something can often make someone not say something at all. But you have to choose one or the other -- have the good and bad effects of anonymity (freedom to express yourself because you know there won't be consequences; freedom to act like an asshat because you know there won't be consequences) or have the good and bad effects of nonymity (People are more well-behaved and polite, because they know there will be consequences; people can't share certain things because they know there will be consequences). Some communities choose anonymity; Google chose nonymity. You're free to make your own website if you wish.

Re:anyone remember friendster? (2)

geonik (1003109) | about 3 years ago | (#36894240)

My eyes hurt seeing the greek word "anonymity" becoming "nonymity"!

If you really want to use a similar sounding antonym, please use the etymologically correct "eponymity" (like eponymous, which literally means "bearing a name")

Re:anyone remember friendster? (2)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 3 years ago | (#36893978)

What's the difference if G+ (or Facebook, or Twitter, or ???) knows my real name or not? Advertisers et. al. can still track my every click, ISPs keep the last 6-18 mos. of activity, and even if I go to extremes to mask/hide this, my browser fingerprint [slashdot.org] is unique enough to identify me. Oh and don't forget my always-on, always-with-me GPS enabled cell phone. Anonymity on the web is dead.

Re:anyone remember friendster? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894104)

Anonymity on the web is dead.

Is it, now? I think it works quite well.

The way I see it, this isn't about protecting your online identity. Rather the opposite - being able to abandon your online identity if needed, and to maintain a separator between your online identity and your real world person. A stalker cannot easily bother littlmous79, but will have little problems tracking down Anastasia Periwinkle Hott.
And if littlmous79 sees too much trouble, she can abandon it and migrate to using her seagodess79 account.

Re:anyone remember friendster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894052)

That said, I think one of the reasons so many people migrated to Facebook was because there were no goofy fake names comprised of leet speak, song lyrics and God knows what, which was all possible with Myspace user names. I certainly find it to be one of the (many) reasons why Facebook is superior to Myspace.

Re:anyone remember friendster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894194)

You could make a movie about social networking zombies. That would be great.

Celebrity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893712)

Well, I am a legend in my own mind...

Duh (5, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | about 3 years ago | (#36893740)

I'm pretty sure that's Google's exact intention. If you force people to use their real name, tracking them over all the web gets much easier.

Re:Duh (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 3 years ago | (#36893790)

Not if they don't join specially BECAUSE of the real name policy.

Re:Duh (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 3 years ago | (#36893806)

*specifically

Re:Duh (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 years ago | (#36893928)

just like the best buy devil customers, they don't want you then

Re:Duh (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 3 years ago | (#36894014)

Well, I'm definitely not joining.

Then, I'm not on facebook or anything of the sort either.

Re:Duh (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36894064)

Not if they don't join specially BECAUSE of the real name policy.

How hard is it to buy a fake name? 20 million mostly uneducated illegal aliens figured it out without much trouble; Shouldn't be hard at all for me to get a paper documented anonymous G+ account if I really want one.

Its probably cheaper and easier to get on G+ with a paper documented fake name, than pay for an play WOW or other MMORPGs. Yet its not free, which keeps the lowlifes (astroturfers, trolls, spammers) out. Its a good balance.

Don't make it sound like we are the resistance in France during WWII fighting the Germans and everything is infinitely expensive in lives and money and the slightest security slip up means kilodeaths. Just find the local drunken college student or the illegal in the home depot parking lot, talk for a bit, do the obvious, and you're golden.

Re:Duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894236)

Who says you have to buy one? Is Google even validating false names? From what I've seen they're only banning online nicknames. "Fake name" taken literally is just that, an impersonated name, not some absurd word-combination alias.

Re:Duh (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36894392)

Who says you have to buy one? Is Google even validating false names? From what I've seen they're only banning online nicknames. "Fake name" taken literally is just that, an impersonated name, not some absurd word-combination alias.

Eventually someone with a minor grudge would probably report you and then you're gone unless you send them "proof".

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894450)

Uhh... buy? Just use a fake name that sounds somewhat realistic and you'll bypass the filters.

The most obvious check simply does a =? against your "real name" in your gmail account. Before you sign up for G+ update all your google-names to match.

There is also a contextual search (they ARE google after all) on your "name" and sees what contexts it exists in. If it's obviously a business name...

For example, I have NEVER used my real (Read: Legal) name with Google, but rather an alias that I've used since I was a teenager (Both first and last names). My G+ account has no problems.

Was there a source I missed saying they'd eventually require some sort of name verification?

Re:Duh (1)

frinkster (149158) | about 3 years ago | (#36894296)

I'm pretty sure that's Google's exact intention. If you force people to use their real name, tracking them over all the web gets much easier.

When I was in college, there were four people with the same name as me. I just checked LinkedIn, and there are eleven people with the same name as me in the same city as me. I admit that I live in a big city, but I don't have a common first or last name. The world just has a lot of people on it.

"Chester Wisniewski"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893750)

If that IS his real name.

Dumb for G+ (5, Insightful)

assertation (1255714) | about 3 years ago | (#36893756)

If large amounts of people abandon Facebook for G+ they will be motivated by having more control over their privacy. Taking that motivation away, before G+ is even out of beta is a fairly stupid thing for Google to do.

Given what happened with Buzz I'm starting to think that Google has some decision makers who are either very stupid or very out of touch with how people think. I suggest leaving the office and geek circles to get to know some regular people.

I'm glad I created my G+ account with a faux name that sounds like a real name if this is the way they are going to be.

Re:Dumb for G+ (2)

CraftyJack (1031736) | about 3 years ago | (#36893844)

Anonymity and privacy are two different things. If Google is going for privacy without anonymity, they're going to have to start teaching people the difference.

Re:Dumb for G+ (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | about 3 years ago | (#36894140)

you can't protect privacy without some degree on anonymity on the internet. It does not matter that those words are not synonymous.
If you want privacy, then you need your anonymity.

Of course that does not limit to that. I mean Google of course correlate your G+ data with your gmail data and your search data and your *web* data through analytics which is hosted on most sites, as well your documents, youtube, and what not. 20% of us also run their browser which calls home for good measure. And an increasing number run their operating system that does that too.
They do have a very very extensive profile of most of us available and even if you're anonymous your privacy is certainly not respected there.

Re:Dumb for G+ (1)

kikito (971480) | about 3 years ago | (#36894248)

"If you want privacy, then you need your anonymity."

Please explain.

Re:Dumb for G+ (3, Interesting)

elsurexiste (1758620) | about 3 years ago | (#36894328)

Anonymity and privacy are two different things. If Google is going for privacy without anonymity, they're going to have to start teaching people the difference.

They are different IRL; not so much on the internetz. Given how easily it is to (a) collect data about someone, (b) store it, (c) preserve it from degrading, and (d) communicate it, anonymity IS privacy, and sometimes even that is not enough. Privacy is always a single [security breach | disgruntled employee | greedy suit] away from disappearing; anonymity requires much more effort to dispel.

Re:Dumb for G+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894212)

Actually G+ has less privacy controls. With Facebook I could put in an address and phone number and set that to be visible to only certain people. (I have fake info in there though because I can't trust Facebook to not wipe out that setting). With G+, if you fill in Introduction, Bragging Rights, Occupation, Employment, Education, Places Lived, Relationship, Gender, or Other names they are all public with no settings to control them. (You do have control over your phone, email , and work phone).

Re:Dumb for G+ (1)

lochnessie (1291986) | about 3 years ago | (#36894458)

Actually, you can set the visibility of those items in your profile. When you click to edit the text field, there is a little pull-down menu where you can choose who gets to see what.

Re:Dumb for G+ (4, Informative)

DisKurzion (662299) | about 3 years ago | (#36894540)

My profile has all of these items filled out. Only things viewable to public is Name,Gender, and a profile pic. Everything else is either shared with a specific circle, all circles, or extended circles based on how sensitive I find the info. Contact Info goes to specific circles. Education + Employment go to immediate circles. Relationship + Occupation go in extended circles, as that is largely public info, but not something I want shared with the whole world.

This is not rocket science people. Every one of those options was displayed in the very same prompt that that info was entered in. The only excuse someone has for not setting their privacy settings on their profile is "I'm too damn lazy to read."

Re:Dumb for G+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894314)

I'm glad I created my G+ account with a faux name that sounds like a real name if this is the way they are going to be.

Regardless, you will be violating G+ TOS because at some point you vouched that whatever name you gave them is your real name, and they said they can suspend/delete your account across the board if you didn't give them your real name. At least something to that effect.

Facebook realname policy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893766)

I'm not sure how facebook managed to break the established internet culture of pseudonymity simply by asking for real names (ie: why people complied), but google can't just do the same.
Anyone in the market for a new social network isn't going to be facebook's core market of, well retards, so this isn't going to wash.

Also, facebook never conquered Japan because pseudonymity culture is too strong. If google want market share, they need to offer something different.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893776)

I haven't used G+ but does it matter if you use your real name or not if you can choose who sees your address or date of birth ?
Most people use their real names on Facebook too so why focus on Google ?

Re:I don't get it (3, Interesting)

Riceballsan (816702) | about 3 years ago | (#36894034)

I am normally a huge google fan, and I actually just recently de-activated my facebook account in favor of G+, but I do believe the main difference is enforcement. Facebook basically says "Please don't make accounts to bogus names", but 1/4th of the accounts on it are dogs, children and psudonyms, and they have made zero effort to stop that. While G+ is actually actively suspending accounts and taking out other Google services in the process. Basically it's the difference between a sign that says "Keep off the grass", and beware of the dog (with trained attack dogs paroling the grass).

Re:I don't get it (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894312)

Actually, Google suspended the G+ accounts, and non-related Google services (Gmail, etc) were left intact and operable by the suspended user.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894348)

My 11 letter last name is used by dozens of people in America. None of those dozens have my first name. It is unlikely that anyone in my ancestral home use my first name either, since it is an Anglicized name that my ancestral home does not have(it also has a different alphabet). Needless to say, your suggestion is fine if you're John Smith. I'm not.

Social network privacy? (4, Insightful)

Mostly Harmless (48610) | about 3 years ago | (#36893824)

I value the importance of privacy as much as any good Slashdot reader, but we're talking about an opt-in social network. If you want privacy, don't use the service that's already linked to everything else you do publicly on the Internet. Rather, get your privacy at one of the other, "more secure," social networking sites, like Facebook, or MySpace. Better yet, eschew social networking altogether. Or, if you want an anonymous social network that plays by your rules, build one.

Re:Social network privacy? (1)

kenboldt (1071456) | about 3 years ago | (#36893982)

THANK YOU. I wonder why more people who are so up in arms about this or that with any free internet service don't ask for their money back. It is one thing when a site like Facebook suddenly changes their privacy policies, and so things that were once private are suddenly made public without your permission, however , if Google is saying that their policy is that you can only use your real name, why are people surprised when they delete accounts that don't use real names. If you don't like the TOS, don't use the product.

It's like buying a single cup coffee maker, knowing that it is a single cup coffee maker, then complaining when it won't brew a full pot.

Re:Social network privacy? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 years ago | (#36894066)

He actually means "erodes the ability to not be found out after griefing other accounts that belong to people you know"...

Re:Social network privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894080)

Pretty much exactly what I was thinking. Social networks are inherently not private...they are social. The whole point of it is to tell people what you are doing, to connect with them. The usefulness of the service is largely destroyed by being completely anonymous. You need people to know who you are, otherwise even your friends won't be able to connect with you. If you don't want people to be able to connect with you, why are using a social networking site?

The rules for using social networks are the same as they always were, and this doesn't change them. If you wouldn't be comfortable posting information on a coffee shop bulletin board, don't put it on the internet. If you don't want your real name up there, stick to the more traditional methods like the the telephone.

Its really unworkable (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#36893866)

Someone who calls themselves Joe Jones is undetectable as a pseudonym, while at the same time Daddy Fantastic and Jet Black [ukdps.co.uk] would probably be suspended for using their legal names

Re:Its really unworkable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894172)

My name is Joe Jones you insensitive clod!

Re:Its really unworkable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894368)

Don't be ridiculous. There's an existing mechanism to verify someone's identity. It's called state-issued photo ID.

Re:Its really unworkable (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#36894490)

Don't be ridiculous. There's an existing mechanism to verify someone's identity. It's called state-issued photo ID.

Not everyone lives in America.

Re:Its really unworkable (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#36894544)

Don't be ridiculous. There's an existing mechanism to verify someone's identity. It's called state-issued photo ID.

Not everyone lives in America.

To expand on this in the UK you can change your name legally without central registration. You can even do it through usage without documentation of any sort. In some countries like Thailand your legal name is often only used for legal documents, another name is used for work and day to day use. G+ are going to have a problem implementing a world wide service that prevents pseudonyms but does not bar legitimate names

Social != Private (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893868)

Why would you go on a social network to be private? There's all this uproar about social networks allowing other people to learn about you. You're being social, you're communicating and sharing with people. There's no uproar because you can be photographed picking up your dry cleaning.

Oxymoron (3, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | about 3 years ago | (#36893870)

The point of social networks is to share. That's naturally counterproductive to privacy. At the very least I must know something about who I'm sharing information with or I wouldn't be there.

The only real privacy on a social network could be within your circle of "friends", as opposed to having a public profile. But within that circle absolute privacy would be pointless.

Re:Oxymoron (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#36894016)

At the very least I must know something about who I'm sharing information with or I wouldn't be there.

Yes, but that something doesn't need to be your real name. All you really need to know is that you share common interests.

The only real privacy on a social network could be within your circle of "friends", as opposed to having a public profile.

Or by having a public profile behind a pseudonym. That way you can even share your most embarrassing moment with the world, and it never gets back to you.

I don't see why this is so hard for people to understand.

Re:Oxymoron (1)

truthsearch (249536) | about 3 years ago | (#36894176)

I'm very much in favor of privacy and anonymity on the internet. But social networks, by definition, give up information which easily identify who you are. Just your connections can be enough. But more likely you're going to post or connect to certain interests which give up more information.

My view is simply that if you want true anonymity online, you will never have it using a social network.

Re:Oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894466)

[what you know about who you're sharing information with] doesn't need to be your real name. All you really need to know is that you share common interests.

So you advocate people having social network "friends" that aren't their friends in real life? To be honest, I've never even heard of such a thing. Why would anyone at all be interested in it? Social networking is for staying in touch with your actual friends.

Re:Oxymoron (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 3 years ago | (#36894046)

My real friends know who I am regardless of if my name on any of those sites is James Dean or Martha Stewart...

Re:Oxymoron (2)

kangsterizer (1698322) | about 3 years ago | (#36894160)

As you just pointed out, you do have privacy in the social network - at least, you do want it.
So no, there's no oxymoron here, and you're contradicting yourself.

Privacy does not mean "secret to only you", it means you share with whoever you like and only those (and that can also be only you if you wish)

Don't like it? Don't join. (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | about 3 years ago | (#36893874)

The choice to join is still yours. If you don't like it, don't join it, pure and simple.

Re:Don't like it? Don't join. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893932)

+1

Re:Don't like it? Don't join. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894162)

Don't like the posts? Don't read them, pure and simple. What are you replying to?

Re:Don't like it? Don't join. (2)

mijelh (1111411) | about 3 years ago | (#36894290)

A Japanese guy once told me that in Japan, when they go to a restaurant and the food is not cooked the way they like, they just smile, say everything was fine, pay the bill and never come back. Pure and simple, but maybe if they asked for the food to be cooked the way they like, the cook could have done it and it would be better for both.

learning to fear & hate everything as instruct (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893880)

still showing up here there & everywhere

should it not be considered that the domestic threats to all of us/our
freedoms be intervened on/removed, so we wouldn't be compelled to hide our
sentiments, &/or the truth, about ANYTHING, including the origins of the
hymenology council, & their sacred mission? with nothing left to hide,
there'd be room for so much more genuine quantifiable progress?

you call this 'weather'? much of our land masses/planet are going under
water, or burning up, as we fail to consider anything at all that really
matters, as we've been instructed that we must maintain our silence (our
last valid right?), to continue our 'safety' from... mounting terror.

meanwhile, back at the raunch; there are exceptions? the unmentionable
sociopath weapons peddlers are thriving in these times of worldwide
sufferance? the royals? our self appointed murderous neogod rulers? all
better than ok, thank..... us. their stipends/egos/disguises are secure,
so we'll all be ok/not killed by mistaken changes in the MANufactured
'weather', or being one of the unchosen 'too many' of us, etc...?

truth telling & disarming are the only mathematically & spiritually
correct options. read the teepeeleaks etchings. see you there?

diaperleaks group worldwide.

Has to some accountability. (1)

Cragen (697038) | about 3 years ago | (#36893896)

Sorry, I really don't want to talk or even interact with anyone not accountable for their actions. (And yes, my account name has a real name behind it so I am accountable, too.) Generally, it's no big deal. However, it's a problem just often enough that I want to be able to report "jerkish" behavior when necessary. And I want someone to do something about it. (I am not allowed to shoot these people.) Sites that do not respond these reports lose my business. Just my 2 cents. Literally.

Re:Has to some accountability. (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 3 years ago | (#36894118)

I could see this making more sense back in the early facebook days when you were required to have a *.edu and your name could be reasonably verified. With G+ I could make a gmail account "Joe.Blow@gmail.com" and become Mr. Joe Blow. There's no accountability there to begin with.

Re:Has to some accountability. (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36894230)

Sorry, I really don't want to talk or even interact with anyone not accountable for their actions. (And yes, my account name has a real name behind it so I am accountable, too.) Generally, it's no big deal. However, it's a problem just often enough that I want to be able to report "jerkish" behavior when necessary. And I want someone to do something about it. (I am not allowed to shoot these people.) Sites that do not respond these reports lose my business. Just my 2 cents. Literally.

Just as a helpful warning to you, I tried our strategy when debating an anonymous coward on G+ and they got all creepy, just short of where I felt the need to report them for making personal threats. As a group I've seen they get really freaky when people suggest they aren't worth paying attention to them... like they're going to find a way to force people to pay attention to them, even if its in a very bad way, if you know what I mean. Think of recent atrocities in the news, kind of getting attention. Just letting you know whats coming your way; I've gotten threatened for the thoughtcrime of not caring what ACs post, and I've seen others get threatened for the same reason. AC's really are attention seeking creeps. I think it has a lot more to do with the "coward" part of AC rather than the "anonymous" part of AC. I'm not really worried, because someone too scared to use their real name is probably too scared to actually do anything; on the other hand a lot of people convinced themselves the weirdos wouldn't actually do anything bad before columbine, norway, OKC, 911, unibomber, etc.

Re:Has to some accountability. (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 3 years ago | (#36894268)

Sorry, I really don't want to talk or even interact with anyone not accountable for their actions. (And yes, my account name has a real name behind it so I am accountable, too.) Generally, it's no big deal. However, it's a problem just often enough that I want to be able to report "jerkish" behavior when necessary. And I want someone to do something about it. (I am not allowed to shoot these people.) Sites that do not respond these reports lose my business. Just my 2 cents. Literally.

You needn't apologize for your opinion, you're as entitled to it to the next guy. But I don't think it's absolutely necessary to have an account associated with an actual identity to be able to report "jerkish" behavior. Suppose "Jerkface87" and "John Smith" were both being jerks. Presumably you could accuse either one.

But couldn't "Jerkface87" just re-register under a different name? Sure. But couldn't John Smith do so to? In fact, couldn't John Smith just come back as another "John Smith"? Or would one bad "John Smith" ruin it for everyone?

Other way round (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36893908)

Simply knowing my postal code or birth date is meaningless without a name to associate it with.

Knowing someone's post code tells you a lot without a name. It's a name by itself doesn't mean much in most cases.

They lost me (3, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | about 3 years ago | (#36893924)

When I got to this line of the summary:

erodes privacy on the social network

Isn't a social network non-private by definition? There are plenty of ways to meet and communicate with people that are somewhat private and anonymous, but a social network (on the internet or in meatspace) is not one of them.

Good move (1)

cm017510 (2400266) | about 3 years ago | (#36893936)

No thats a good move from google. Look at all these anonymous assholes all over the web. Nobody in real life would act like this. Anonymity has its place, like here, and it can also be fun to go berserk under anonymity, nothing bad about that. But its also not necessarily bad demanding real names. Some foras work fine by it. Tracking is another matter, yes.

Re:Good move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894146)

Nobody in real life would act like this.

I have to disagree. Look at the US government. Then the tv shows. Then the cities. There are people that act like complete douchebags no matter what, they're the people who have the extremely loud muffler, 14 sub-woofer sound system and black out the lights on their car and then creep through a neighborhood with their music on full blast and rev their engine every .5 seconds because it's completely necessary.

Spamming and Trolling and PR (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36893960)

ability for people to be private in any meaningful way.

Code words for spamming, trolling, and PR astroturfing.

I am thrilled G+ doesn't allow psuedonyms. Makes it a much higher class establishment. Rob Malda and I are in each others circles, what could be better?

If G+ was the only social network / web bloggy thing on the internet, if 1% of the population violently disliked a policy of theirs, I guess that would be bad. But they aren't.

Lets visit a paradise of psudonyms, how about my local, not dead yet, newspaper web site. The comments sections are nothing but a dead wasteland of political extremist astroturfers screaming the same corporate / party talking points at each other over and over, spammers trying to sell shoes (wtf?) and pills, and 4chan/goonsquad style shock trollers. Everyone else has been successfully repelled away. Seriously. No normal human beings use it because its a toxic waste dump.

Which brings up the obvious question that always has to be asked... who benefits? Say G+ allows 4chan /. zerohedge style psudeonyms. Who benefits? Mostly I suppose any competitor, since the users of G+ will be strongly repelled. Also PR astroturfing firms will benefit. Who else makes more money? Hmm.

Lets say G+ allows the rabble in, and the rabble repels everyone as they always do. Then whats the point? Who will ye annointed ones, ye whistle-blowers and ye wikileakers tell their important secrets to? The spammer selling dick pills? The political party talking point autopost-bot? No one's perl script will care what they post.

One thing I've noticed in debates on G+ about anonymity is the straw dog always trotted out that unless G+ allows fake names, we'll never have whistleblowers and anonymous leaks. All of which happened before G+ was invented, so presumably could continue to happen after. Furthermore, all the people trotting out that straw dog have NEVER added anything positive to the ecosystem in general or that argument in specific other than "nah nah naah naa na, you don't know who I am, ha ha ha". Anyone trotting out that straw dog better be carrying a wikileaks-grade release, or their just annoying poseurs at best.

@vlm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894528)

Why the hell you post as vlm and not your real name.

Also whats your opinion about Anonymous Cowards, you think is good that a site have a full anonymity option?

Don't need to reply, thanks.

Postal Code & DOB = Useless? (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about 3 years ago | (#36893974)

What they seemed to have missed is that the very foundation of privacy is identity. Simply knowing my postal code or birth date is meaningless without a name to associate it with.

I disagree. If I know which block you live in and I know your age, then I can make some pretty good guesses as to who you are. E.g. if I know that Mr X lives between 150 and 200 Main Street, is 28 years old born on the 12th of July, and has Steve Jobs, Perez Hilton and the local Pop DJ in his circle of "friends", then I know it's most likely the douchebag across the street that drives the Toyota Prius and listens to Lady Gaga from his iPad2 at a high volume, who happened to have a big gathering in his backyard a couple of weekends ago. Gawd, that guy drives me nuts.

Add to PC and DOB certain things like hobbies, medical conditions, membership (Shriners, sports team, etc), then you can build a pretty good picture of who the person most likely is.

Re:Postal Code & DOB = Useless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894044)

Or just go to whitepages.com and look for people the right age/gender living in that postal code. It's pretty amazing what is public record.

Hide a tree in a forest (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 3 years ago | (#36893976)

I "suffer" from quite a common first/last name combination. People who google my name get several thousands of hits - only a few of which trace back to me. (And you'd be hard-pressed to know which few, unless you knew a lot about me, personally). In fact on FB by using my real name I just merge into the crowd of others with that name, or variants of it.

So it seems to me that in order to preserve anonymity on G+, all people have to do is make sure that their real name is a very popular one. It might make it a pain for your friends to find you - although if they really ARE friends, you'll have shown them where you're hiding - but it has a lot of advantages, too.

But if you know my real name (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#36893988)

But if you know my real name you will have ultimate power over me.
-- Rumple********

Re:But if you know my real name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894068)

- (also) Earthdawn

Enforcement? (5, Interesting)

Mr. Vage (1084371) | about 3 years ago | (#36894002)

I have still yet to see them use the real name policy on anyone in my circles. Who checks the names? Do they need to be reported? I'm looking at one of my circles right now, and I see names like Sordid Euphemism, Mr Dragon, reddit brony, Fluttershy, the autowitch, Rainbow Danish, etc. Not to mention my own obviously fake name. As far as I can tell this policy isn't being strictly enforced, if at all. That doesn't change the fact that it is a stupid policy, but they don't seem to be removing fake accounts left and right.

When the brand-name friendly version hits... (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | about 3 years ago | (#36894094)

... surely all of this is pretty much irrelevant. Google has said they're working on it (http://www.cmswire.com/cms/enterprise-20/google-for-business-is-on-the-way-012111.php) so then, unless there really is a Mr. Coca Cola, or Senor Adi Das, things should happen just as they do on Facebook. Of course, making that work in the Circles paradigm might be rather fun.

If you value absolute privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894122)

Reconsider joining any social network.

Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894126)

Maybe you just shouldn't join.

You want privacy? (1)

SoonerSkeene (1257702) | about 3 years ago | (#36894186)

Don't use a SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITE. Or don't use the goddamn internet in general, for that matter.

Re:You want privacy? (2)

SoonerSkeene (1257702) | about 3 years ago | (#36894216)

Who is holding a gun to your head and telling you that you must use G+? By the way, doesn't facebook Terms also require you to use your real name as well?

Data Mining (1)

Vege-Taco (2009692) | about 3 years ago | (#36894200)

Mined data isn't nearly as useful or marketable without real names to attach to it. I suspect Google receives a hefty chunk of change from multiple governments for all the data they collect and will collect.

Display name vs real name (1)

gringer (252588) | about 3 years ago | (#36894210)

What about allowing people to have a display name (that by default is the same as the real name), and the option of exposing the real name to selected circles?

Re:Display name vs real name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894430)

Sounds fair to me.

Sad truth (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 years ago | (#36894218)

Most people who care so much about privacy, are a small minority. Most people don't seem to care about privacy. They don't seem to realize that it is as through there are microphones at every coffee machine and at every water cooler and at every bus stop, and every thing they ever utter is recorded, indexed, archived forever. But they form the overwhelming majority of the population. They pump so much of cash into to market, if you don't take advantage of them, someone else will. So Google is also playing the same game.

People who care so much about privacy can form their own social network. There is no one stopping them from doing it. Why do they insist Google do it when they could not do it? Money. People who care about privacy don't spend enough money, there are not enough of them, not yet anyway. So there is the opportunity for you folks complaining about the erosion of privacy. Start a decent social networking portal with enough safe guards. And wait. If there is a big scandal and suddenly there is a mad rush to protect their privacy, you will be at the right place and make some money. If that day never comes to pass, well, you learned a valuable lesson.

I think this guy needs to look up some definitions (3, Interesting)

Co0Ps (1539395) | about 3 years ago | (#36894382)

By requiring people to only use their real names, unless they just happen to be a celebrity, they have eliminated the ability for people to be private in any meaningful way.

What a nice twisting of words. How is "having to use your real name" different from being indexed in a phone listing or birthday directory? I think this author needs to look up the definition of "being private". Being private does not mean that people are unaware that you exist or that they are unable to attribute your opinions or other personal data. Rather, it means that you have control over who can access what of your personal data, and I found that easier to do in G+ than FB which is one of the reasons I rather use G+.

Also FB is known for paying people to badmouth Google. Just saying...

Why? (1)

austinbeam (2422604) | about 3 years ago | (#36894396)

What is the point of this? It's not like we're talking about a financial institution having a bad privacy policy. We're talking about a social network. Fact is, if you're worried so much about privacy that you need to change your name, then you probably shouldn't use the service. It's not like you are being forced to do so. C'mon guys, let's not waste our time. Slashdot is in danger of leaving my RSS list at this point.

Offline Identity != Online Identity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36894564)

Many of us have a different online identity than our offline, for various reasons. People who are transgendered, have been raped or stalked, use pseudonyms online to protect themselves offline. Being forced to use your real name undermines this completely.

So why not use a realistic fake name? "Abby Noname"? They probably wouldn't notice that it's not real, but it's still against the ToS. It's no better than some different handle. "abby_pie314".

If I'm identified in a community by such and such string of characters, then that's my identity in that community. Lot's of you say that social networking and privacy don't mix... that's not true. In several communities I have a well defined identity that people know me by, and they have no idea that it exists solely online. Why should that prevent me from using Google+? Some of us are actually good at releasing information about ourselves in a controlled manner, so that our real identities are not compromised.

Please consider signing this petition [change.org]

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